GloriFi, a company backed by big-time investors like Peter Thiel and conservative figures like Mike Pence, is folding about two months after launching its app. The startup, which The Wall Street Journal previously reported had repeatedly missed deadlines, laid off dozens of employees after struggling to get its footing with products and funding over the last several months.
The final straw was financial. Funding that the company thought would last through the first quarter fell through, according to the Journal, which cited an email to employees from GloriFi’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Cathy Landtroop. Landtroop did not respond to American Banker’s request for comment.
Founded last year by businessman Toby Neugebauer, the company had raised $50 million from the likes of Ken Griffin and former Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler. In July, GloriFi announced it would hit Wall Street through a merger with DHC Acquisition Corp., a special-purpose acquisition company. The deal, which had been expected to close in the first quarter of 2023, valued the Texas startup at $1.7 billion, and required the company to raise at least $60 million more.
GloriFi’s app launched Sept. 20 with checking and savings products, including debit cards with pro-police and Constitution-related imagery. In mid-October, the company said it had signed up 33,000 new members and opened more than 5,000 new accounts within a few days of launching its app. The startup was endorsed by conservative ideologues like Candace Owens, who claimed on her social media accounts that GloriFi would “overtake Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and PayPal.”
“We didn’t create the movement. One hundred million Americans who want to be free to express their love of God and country did,” Neugebauer said in a prepared statement when the app launched in September. “We created the marketplace where hard-working freedom-loving people can enjoy big tech without having to sacrifice their values.”
In October, a Wall Street Journal article outlined GloriFi’s tumultuous start. It said the company had been close to bankrupt over the summer. It also reported GloriFi had blown through ambitious launch dates, hired more than 100 employees with plans to double headcount, attempted to acquire a bank and operated out of CEO Neugebauer’s 16,000-square-foot home in Dallas. The Journal said employees had commented on Neugebauer’s drinking habits and mercurial personality.
A few days later, the Journal announced that Neugebauer had resigned as CEO but was staying on as executive chairman.
Technology Reporter, Arizent